But, What if School Was an Escape...
Homelife is not a pleasant and peaceful oasis for millions of adults and children around the world. While many have enjoyed the joys of family-time, togetherness, and quietness, others have suffered in silence with no light in sight. It is reported that 15.5 million U.S. children live in homes in which domestic violence occurs and millions of children live in families in which severe partner violence occurs. This raises a huge concern for many adults and children alike.
How can teachers teach from home when they are living in fear? How can parents facilitate virtual learning or homeschooling when they are living in fear? How can children learn when they are living in fear? Often, work and school provide a temporary safe haven for those who may be dealing with abuse. Abuse is not just physical and sexual. It is also emotional and verbal. Can you imagine 8 hours a day Monday-Friday being the only time that you have peace? The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) states, " Children exposed are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes."
The pressing question is what can we do to keep each other safe and whole? The pandemic creates a ripple effect of other issues that many of those unaffected never even consider. The CDC reports that a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship with a caring person can help those in abusive situations overcome the stress associated with abuse. We must be vigilant in how we commit ourselves to handle each other during this season. Do not let the people you know and love suffer in silence. Please look for the signs. Now is not the time for judgment, but the time for understanding. Make a daily effort to do an emotional check-in with students, parents, teachers, loved ones, and friends. Look for changes in behavior, conversation, visibility, and tone. Remember that there is no such thing as "that's their problem". The problems of those we can help are also ours to bear. School was an escape for so many students, teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, janitors, clerical workers, etc. Where will they find refuge when their daily "way out" is no longer there? If we are going to survive during this time in our nation, the only way we will make it is -together. Check on others and let them know its okay not to be okay, but it is never okay to stay that way. Let's help each other through! 1-800-799-7233 (National Domestic Violence Hotline)
Stay Whole and Well,